Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Blogger: Paul Jessup

I have something a little different for you today, friends. Writer Paul Jessup is stopping by as part of his Virtual Blog Tour, and he's chatting a little bit about his thoughts on Urban Fantasy.

Welcome, Paul!


Urban Fantasy as a Reaction to Classic Horror

I make no bones about it, I love me some classic horror. In the movies, on television, in my books, whatever, whenever I can find it. The pitch perfect time was those three decades where low budget meant bad acting and limited special effects, but it was made up for with sheer terror.

But let's be honest. The golden decades (60's, 70's and 80's) had a small problem. Especially in serial killer/slasher films, but in monster films as well. And that was, plainly put, sexism. It continues onto this day, and it's not just sexism, it's violence towards women glorified to pornographic levels. Especially any woman that's not the "last girl" (the good girl who doesn't have sex or do drugs and ends up surviving the terrifying ordeal somehow).

Look at most most posters for Horror Films. It shows women crying, screaming, or abused. What does that say, when this is your advertisement for a movie? What does it say about your genre?

IMHO, Urban Fantasy is a straight up rebellion against that. Their is no Last Girl. The Last Girl was a victim who fought back. Urban Fantasy protagonists are not victims and they are definitely not good girls who don't have sex or do bad stuff. It's a moral grey area, the entire existence of the heroine of an UF novel. The good guys do bad shit. And they kill. And they are the ones fighting monsters.

And it's not like Epic Fantasy where the good/evil lines are drawn clearly in the sand. No. A lot of UF protags end up risking becoming the very monsters they fight. They are the ones in power, and they are the ones taking risks. Sure, it uses all the horror tropes and horror monsters, but it turns the very groundwork of the horror genre on it's head.

For the longest time I wondered why there was so much vile hate in the Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror community towards Urban Fantasy. Esp. from the old guard. And now I realized this is the core of it- they want their female characters abused and victims. They don't want strong, sexy woman kicking the crap out of some terror that walks in the night.


Paul Jessup is a guest blogger, going on a small virtual tour of the internet to promote his new book Werewolves. It's an illustrated book about the journey of one High School teen named Alice, and her voyage into the violent werewolf community. She tries to find a cure, help her brother, and survive violent pack conflicts. You can purchase a copy here. The art is done by Allyson Haller, and it's published by Chronicle Books. You can view the rest of the blog tour as it chugs along this week at his website, http://pauljessup.com.


Tyhitia Green said...

Great point, Paul. :-D I've been mulling that over myself, especially since I'm a woman that writes in those genres. :-D

Great guest blog, Kelly.

nerinedorman said...

This is definitely a "now that you mention it" scenario. I've always been particularly attracted to protagonists that are skirting a little too close to the abyss, for a sake of paraphrasing Nietszche...

pauljessup said...

I'm glad you guys liked the post :) It's something I've been thinking about for awhile. After reading interviews with Joss Whedon (and how he purposefully made Buffy a reaction to The Last Girl problem in Horror fiction).

Glad it struck a chord

alanajoli said...

Great post -- I'm sorry I missed it the first time around! I agree, UF, particularly of the Buffy line, is all about subverting the old horror expectations, especially where gender is concerned. Who needs a damsel in distress when the damsel can be *causing* distress (to evil, of course).